They may be onto something. Researchers have developed a light bending cloak, microscopic in size, that they believe can be scaled up with relative ease to completely conceal objects in plain sight.
The latest effort to fabricate invisible fabric was conducted by researchers from the University of California and the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Their findings were packaged into a report, An Ultra-Thin Invisibility Skin Cloak for Visible Light, and published in the journal Science.
It marks the first time a three dimensional object, which shape is of no consequence, had completely obscured from visible light, stated Xiang Zhang, director of the Materials Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab's and a leading authority on artificially engineer nanostructures known as "metamaterials."
"Our ultra-thin cloak now looks like a coat," said Zhang. "It is easy to design and implement, and is potentially scalable for hiding macroscopic objects."
The prototype is about 80 nanometers wide. For perspective, the head of a pin has a width of about a million nanometers.
What makes this latest invisibility cloak especially encouraging is its collection of mirrors and their ability conform to object of arbitrary dimensions.
The cloak is composed of gold nanoantennas and mirrors, which conformed to the dimensions of an arbitrarily shaped object to collectively mimic a flat mirror. Regardless of the viewing angle, the mirrors collectively mimic a flat mirror.
"A phase shift provided by each individual nanoantenna fully restores both the wavefront and the phase of the scattered light so that the object remains perfectly hidden," explains study co-lead Zi Jing Wong.
The cloak also has an On/Off switch, which is as simple as reversing the fabric's polarity to create the illusion or to seemingly materialize in front of an unwitting person.
For a peek at what it looks like in present day, check out the video shown: